Jobs ahoy as Mayo’s major transatlantic cable touches down

14 Aug 2015

Killala in Co Mayo welcomed a direct transatlantic fibre optic cable earlier today (14 August), bringing with it the potential to create “thousands of jobs” on the back of increased data centre and cloud capabilities.

Earlier this week, Cork tapped into a cable linking the US with the UK, which in itself was a major deal, bringing additional support to a part of the country home to the likes of Apple, IBM and EMC – major data centres.

Mayo has gone one step further, though, with the Connacht county now Europe’s entry point to a vastly superior service when construction is completed by next year.

The 5,475km subsea cable is owned and operated by Irish company Aqua Comms and cost US$300m.

‘This new digital infrastructure is essential to help create new jobs and new business opportunities across Ireland’

A world of opportunities from Mayo

Although it links Mayo with New York, the whole country will benefit, with connections from the west of Ireland eventually spreading over all of Ireland, into the UK and on to Europe.

The cable will also include stubbed branching units for other future landings, similar to how Cork got in on the Hibernia Express cable.

This cable, called AEConnect, can support the entire European and American traffic currently in existence, and can handle more if it needs to.

“The development of new digital infrastructure is essential to help create new jobs and new business opportunities across Ireland,” said An Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

“This transatlantic cable is a remarkable project which has extensive positive implications for Mayo and the west, potentially opening up the entire region for new investment.”

The power of fibre

As well as being capable of handling one-third of the world’s telephone calls, the initial capacity provides for more than 1.6 million ultra-high-definition video channels running simultaneously, or more than 32 million 4G wireless callers.

It will also have a latency speed of 53.8 milliseconds.

“We are building a diversified solution-based network on optical infrastructure, supporting America and Europe’s expanding data requirements for today and into the future,” said Martin Roche, Aqua Comms’ CFO. “This is a system which will cover the needs of tomorrow, today.

“It will also be the most secure transatlantic cable system, due to the carefully mapped route and the design built into the construction of this project.”

Main image via Shutterstock

*Update* This article originally incorrectly stated this was the first transatlantic cable to connect with Ireland

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic